Get in kids! We’re hitting the road. Destination? Travel that the whole family will enjoy, courtesy of five Ontario-based travel experts who understand the joys —and occasional challenges — of road tripping with kids. With these spring/summer-ready itinerary ideas, we promise you won’t hear “Are we there yet?” once. (Note: Seasonal opening dates vary by place/activity.)
Solmaz Khosrowshahian, content creator at the Curious Creature
“Norfolk County always surprises me. The beaches, outdoor activities and small-town vibe makes it the perfect region for a road trip with the family. My family and I love glamping at Long Point Eco-Adventures because it’s surrounded by Carolinian forest and offers amazing activities for kids of all ages — from mountain biking, zip lining and kayaking to axe throwing, hiking and stargazing.
Norfolk County also has two provincial parks (Turkey Point and Long Point) with beautiful sandy beaches and shallow entry, so a family beach day is a must.
Stops at Blueberry Hill Estates, Twins Ice Cream Parlour, the Jetty Bar & Grill and Burning Kiln Winery are always on our road-trip itinerary, too. I can’t wait to go back to explore more of the region with my family.”
Heather Greenwood Davis, travel writer
“The last thing kids think they want on vacation is more learning, but if it’s fun, they’re more likely to bite. I’ve visited the Chatham-Kent area a few times now, and it never fails to impress. Kids, and the adults who love them, will get a kick out of the themed rooms at Retro Suites Hotel. And a visit to the Buxton Museum offers fascinating insight into Canadian Black history.
Round out your visit with opportunities for kids to burn off steam: Hiking at Rondeau Provincial Park and riding at TJ Stables, which is also home to some Ojibway spirit horses, hit the mark. On a rainy day, Retro Fun House keeps you dry and entertained.”
MANITOULIN AND MORE
Kevin Wagar, adventure family travel writer
“I love going off the beaten path for my family trips in the province. I look at awesome destinations with loads of outdoor adventures, great food, and something new and exciting the whole family can enjoy — places like Manitoulin Island.
You can road trip up through Sudbury to check out the stunning Killarney region, with its beautiful emerald lakes and rocky landscapes, or take a unique trip across Lake Huron on the Chi-Cheemaun ferry from the town of Tobermory. Kids will get a thrill from the brilliant skies (and maybe even catch a glimpse of the northern lights) on the island’s dark sky preserve, Manitoulin Eco Park. The park has a wonderful playground and interactive, kid-friendly hiking trails and scavenger hunts.
For something even more adventurous, check out one of Canada’s best hiking routes, the Cup and Saucer Trail, near the town of M’Chigeeng, where kids can climb through crevasses and up ladders, and gaze out over the whole island.
Manitoulin is home to six First Nations communities, and families can sign up for Wikwemikong Tourism’s nature-based and cultural experiences, both on the island and in the nearby Indigenous-run Point Grondine Park. There are chances for hiking, camping, drum sessions, and even local pow wows packed with music, dancing and Indigenous food.
Yashy Murphy, travel writer
“Oxford County, the dairy capital of Canada, is about a 90-minute drive from downtown Toronto and promises a ‘Gouda’ time for families with kids of all ages! The Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum has a cheese-themed playground, which is a hit with young kids, and every family member can make their own soap at Wild Comfort.
Kids can pick fruits and veggies at Thames River Melons and cut their own flowers at Makkink’s Flower Farm. Don’t forget to enjoy a delicious sample ice cream pack at Habitual Chocolate. I mean, who can say no to brie ice cream? Children and parents alike will enjoy cuddling baby goats at Udderly Ridiculous Farm Life or getting a tour at Greener Pastures Eco Farm.
While this could be a day trip, there are many farms and dining experiences in Oxford County, and securing accommodations for a night is an easy decision.”
Natalie Preddie, travel writer
“I love Sauble Beach. My in-laws have had a cottage on the white sandy beach for over 30 years, and my husband grew up here. I’m so happy my kids will also have this opportunity. My boys love playing in the water and running down the beach to get ice cream after dinner at the Sauble Trading Post. It’s been there since the beginning of time!
In the past few years, the area has really grown, with many more unique food offerings and fun cocktail bars. In fact, the June Motel, a boutique hotel not far from the beach, was the subject of a popular Netflix series in 2021.
The whole area is great: Sauble Falls is a beautiful conservation area, and in the fall, you can actually see the salmon jump! Southampton is a wonderful little town to explore with cute stores and delicious bakeries, and Hi-Berry Farm has the best seasonal produce. The sunsets are also among the most stunning in the whole world.”
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